Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Judy Davis, Roberto Benigni, Jesse Eisenburg, Ellen Page, Greta Gerwig, Alec Baldwin, Penelope Cruz, Fabio Armiliato
Sassi’s Star Rating: 4/5
Allen directs a veritable who’s who of cinema in his latest stop on his tour de force of Europe, To Rome with Love is a collection of light-hearted vignettes that take place in the eternal city. The film was originally titled The Bop Decameron in reference to Boccaccio’s fourteenth century collection of episodes about Italian life. Unfortunately, no-one got it and Bop Decameron became Nero Fiddled. That is until no-one got that either and we ended up with the schmaltzy To Rome with Love.
Nevertheless it is wonderful to see Allen back on screen (for the first time in six years) and he is in excellent form as the neurotic retired operatic director with a fear of the mundane, death, and in true Allen style – flying. He has come to Rome with his psychologist wife (the amazing Miss Judy Davis) to meet his daughter’s Italian fiancé. Bad enough that Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) is a socialist, his father Giancarlo (renowned tenor Fabio Armiliato) is a mortician. But when Jerry hears Giancarlo sing in the shower he can’t help but try and entice the reluctant performer out of the washroom and into the limelight.
Meanwhile the epitome average of Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni) wakes up one day to find himself suddenly and unexplainably famous. Across town newlyweds Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) and Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) have just arrived in Rome to impress Antonio’s relatives, until Milly gets lost looking for a hairdresser. Penelope Cruz plays a prostitute who has entwined herself in someone else’s story.
The most interesting chapter belongs to John (Alec Baldwin) who meets a young Jesse Eisenburg living in the apartment he used to rent when he was a student many years ago. Jack is in love with his girlfriend Sally (Greta Gerwig) but is becomes somewhat distracted when her best friend Monica (played smartly by Ellen Page) comes to stay. According to Sally, Monica is one of those women whom is irresistible to men – then she dangles the carrot in front of his face.
Sharp and funny with an excellent cast To Rome with Love is an entertaining jaunt through the Rome of Woody Allen’s mind, and isn’t that a place we’d all like to see. This film will inevitably draw comparisons to Midnight in Paris, in which it will more often than not come off second best. But while To Rome with Love might not have the mystery of its predecessor, it does have enough enchantment to keep you well entertained.
To Rome with Love is in cinemas now.
Category: Film & TV